Ways to Protect Swimmers From Exposure to Chlorine Gas

You may be wondering how possible it is that swimmers will be exposed to chlorine gas while in the pool . Well, it’s very possible. Chlorine can accidentally be emitted in quantities that can be fatal to swimmers. Some months ago in a California swim school, there was a surge of Chlorine gas in the pool area. And this led to about a dozen swimmers developing breathing difficulties. This sort of incidents occur from time to time and they harm swimmers.

What causes these sudden emission of Chlorine gas? How can swimmers be protected from this incident?  Let’s answer these questions.

How Does a Disinfectant System for Pools Function?

These disinfectants which are Chlorine based disinfectant and Chlorine acid are injected in a water line. As fresh water is being pumped into the pool, these disinfectant are pumped into that same line before it runs into the pool. In this way there is quality control. The right amounts only are being injected in the right ratio.

What Can Go Wrong?

This is mainly caused by a fault in the electric interlock system of the pool. What does this mean? As seen above, the injection of both the disinfectant and the Chlorine acid occurs at the line carrying fresh water that is being pumped into the pool. A  functional electric interlock system is supposed to control the amount of acid and disinfectant that goes into the pool in such a way that it does not overwhelm swimmers.

Now, when the electric interlock system malfunctions, this causes the water line to stop pumping fresh water into the pool while letting the injection of both the chlorine disinfectant and the chlorine acid continue thereby having a buildup in the fresh water line. If this continues for a while, Chlorine gas is formed. And if finally, the fault is detected and the fresh water lines are opened, there will be a surge of Chlorine gas into the pool. When this happens, anyone present in the pool will be overwhelmed and will likely experience breathing difficulties.

How Can Swimmers Be Protected?

There are basically three ways swimmers can be protected from these surge.

  • A functional electrical interlock system should be installed. Such that if a line is disconnected or malfunctions, it immediately triggers the disconnection of other lines. What this means is that if the fresh water line stops pumping, immediately the disinfectant lines are disconnected.
  • Whenever a maintenance is carried out, a fault is detected or there is a reactivation of the electric system, all swimmers should be asked to leave the pool. To enable this, staff should be well trained and very alert to notice faults.
  • Swimmers should be asked to wait at least ten minutes before reentry into the pool after maintenance is carried out of after a fault is rectified.

Chlorine surges are real, they occur and they can be very dangerous to swimmers. Protect your staff and clients with the above mentioned tips. Remember swimming is fun, but when you’re safe while swimming, it is just great.